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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op. 43 - Neeme Järvi / Scottish National Orchestra
Dmitri Shostakovich, Neeme Järvi, Scottish National Orchestra
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op. 43 - Neeme Järvi / Scottish National Orchestra
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (2) - Disc #1


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Absolutely riveting !
Jeffrey Lee | Asheville area, NC USA | 10/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There seems to be little doubt that profoundly troubling influences were exerted on Shostakovich's emotions around the time he was in the process of creating this symphony, the first of his more mature large masterworks. He felt compelled, though with reluctance, to suppress this work in 1936. It did not surface for its premiere until late December, 1961. Once performed in concert, it generated all sorts of speculation. Only five years prior, the composer himself had issued some reservations about it. But I have no intention of probing further here the political and ideological aspects of the accompanying story. The main focus is this big, outspoken, abstruse and bewitching opus, and when one has the good fortune of hearing as dedicated, perceptive and exciting a performance as that served up here by Neeme Jarvi and the Scottish National Orchestra, the entire experience becomes special. This is not the first time I have encountered the "give it all it's worth " effort from this team of musical forces. (See my review of their recording of the Shostakovich Tenth.) With Jarvi at the helm, you'd better be prepared to hold tight and not let go. It should also be said that the Chandos sound engineers do a beautiful job of assisting in clearly bringing to light every aspect of this spellbinding journey. For one thing, you will be impressed with the urgency and sometimes explosive power the conductor and orchestra bring to the first movement. One can easily pick up on the influence of Mahler. Here and there, it seems as if Shostakovich is employing that composer's cloak to issue mocking musical commentary. The second movement carries Mahler's influence even further, once more intertwining it with the sometimes ominous, unpredictable elements of Shostakovich's own living environment. In the third and final movement, Jarvi deftly communicates some of the symphony's more pungent and powerful aspects, while managing to retain an air of dangerous anticipation. His complete portrayal is terribly convincing. Whether you are unfamiliar with or curious about this symphony or you have heard other interpretations of it, you owe it to yourself to listen to Jarvi and the Scottish National Orchestra. Regardless of the direction you are coming from, you should find yourself strongly impressed."
Almost there
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/01/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Having just returned from a difinitive performance of the resplendent Shostakovich Symphony No. 4 ( Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen as part of the ongoing Shostakovich Cycle)I began searching for a recording that captures the glory of this not so well known symphony. Yes, there is a big difference between a live concert in a hall with warm sonic ambience and a recording, and probably the only CD tht begins to approach the glories of this work are on a recording of Shostakovich/Britten with Andre Previn conducting the Chicago and London orchestras. But to simply focus on the one symphony in a recording that is respectable, then this CD with Neeme Jarvi conducting the Scottish National Orchestra is probably as sound as they come. The obvious contender is Simon Rattle's recording with the City of Birmingham Orchestra, but the engineering balances blur all the inner voices and the overall architecture is not fully realized. One would hope that Salonen and the LA Phil will commit that splendidly intuitive performance to recording, but until that time then Neeme Jarvi's reading will suffice. There are so many breathtaking moments in each of the three movements of this symphony that attaching word descriptions to them seems futile. Just brace yourself for some of the most imaginative scoring, combinations of instruments, sparing of dance forms with the vitriol of underlying fear and sadness, and an ending that has all the tender resignation and pathos of the composer's String Quartet #15: after using every instrument created Shostakovich allows the symphony to fade into nothingness with a soft celeste solo agains pitzing harps and tam tam effects in the strings. This is a magnificent work - one well worth the multiple listenings that are required to get into it. Jarvi may now have more sensitivity, but until another recording comes along this one will suffice."
Shostakovich with all the edges rough
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 10/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Jarvi's reading is glaring and hard-edged, bringing out the mechanistic side of this enigmatic work. He makes it sound like a raw industrial symphony, which is an exciting approach. His Scottish orchestra is a bit thin, and the recorded sound has some glare, so one can't expect the refined, sophisticated sound that is available from Haitink, Chung, and Gergiev--I prefer all those recordings over this one. But the Fourth is the hardest of Shostakovich's symphonies to carry off, and Jarivi's rawer approach is convincing."